Why Play Old Games?

With new blockbuster video games releasing every month, plenty of gamers could spend their entire lives playing the freshest things on the market. These games promise the innovative, genre defining experiences anyways, so why go back and play games from ten/twenty/thirty years ago?

I used to be that kind of gamer… until I picked up The Secret of Monkey Island on Xbox Live Arcade. I had never played a point and click adventure, and I certainly hadn’t played anything that graphically archaic. The witty writing and thoughtful design had me hooked, and I promptly downloaded the sequel as soon as I finished the game.

This experience unlocked a whole new appreciation me for “retro” gaming, or at least, playing through backlogs of acclaimed older titles. My second example, and current personal favorite, is BioWare’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Even through the game is not necessarily retro, since it is only seven years old, it is is amazing to see how far gaming technology has progressed in the last decade. The game does feel dated compared to BioWare’s more recent Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises. However, Knights of the Old Republic is still a valuable experience due to an excellent story and memorable characters. Even if the mechanics are occasionally glitchy and it doesn’t look like a Hollywood movie the talented writing means the game deserves to be played.

Not the best graphics… but such a good game!

Ideally, a “Game of the Year” or a “classic” video game should hold up against the test of time – not necessarily in every way, but there should be something valuable there for a gamer. With the rise of retro game reboots on iOS and Android, now is the time to go back and play those Final Fantasies (they used to be good, I promise), 2D Scrollers and old school fighting games. With reasonable price points (most retro game reboots are less than ten bucks!) this might be the best gaming decision you could make.

– E.B.

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